By M. Gallagher
Read or Download Action Figures: Men, Action Films, and Contemporary Adventure Narratives PDF
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Additional resources for Action Figures: Men, Action Films, and Contemporary Adventure Narratives
As with the Gore campaign commercial, numerous contemporary nonfiction texts use events occurring in remote locations as signifiers of bravery and determination. Simply by offering their exceptional images and events to the public, these texts grant conditional but still vivid access to situations far removed from everyday experiences. Thus, the texts fulfill not only their explicit function—to mobilize support for a politician, or to maintain reader interest—but also substitute for or supplement the physical and psychological experience of remote adventure.
Climbing was a magnificent activity, I firmly believed, not in spite of the inherent perils, but precisely because of them. (352) Krakauer’s firsthand experience with tragedy, he implies, changes his perspective, but he does not fully articulate a revised philosophy. Despite the book’s accounts of fatal mishaps and gruesome deaths, Krakauer venerates a model of identity in which exposure to risk leads to self-fulfillment. The author’s own pain and guilt at having survived when hardier climbers died presents a curious paradox with regard to masculinity: Krakauer’s survival attests to his weakness, to his selfish instinct for self-preservation, while he portrays many of those who died as heroes who perished in the service of the group.
Individual physical achievement can attest to a fitness of character transportable to other arenas. For example, during Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, one television commercial highlighted the vice president’s character through images of his 1999 ascent of Washington State’s Mount Rainier. ”8 Here, success in solitary or small-group endeavors removed from civic life signifies an ability to rise to challenges, face adversity, and achieve goals, however disparate such acts might be from the specific technical and physical feat of mountain climbing.